I must be getting old, because I tend to get annoyed by many of the technological advancements that are supposed to make our lives easier. Forgive me if you are a gadget guy and your whole house is controlled by a device with dutiful responses from a woman’s voice. Really though, just hear me out.
We hear a lot today about being an entitled society. It is easy to try and pin it on the Millennials, but come on, let’s be honest, we all have a tendency to feel entitled.
Are we entitled to a clear lane on the highway so we can get to where we are going one time? How about getting seated a restaurant without waiting in line? What about free education, or a life without pain? I know many folks who feel that they are entitled to a nice comfortable life without any suffering. I am pretty sure that each of us could come up with a list as long as our arm of the things that at some level we feel entitled to.
Oh sure, there are a lot of things that have been made easier for you and I today, and I am not saying that some of them are really good. I personally love being able to have a fresh brewed cup of coffee in less than a minute with my Keurig. I have been known to use the Rapid Pick-Up at Panera from time to time as well. My wife and I record all of our favorite shows on TV so we can watch them when we want, and blow through all of the annoying commercials. Oh, and being able to deposit checks with my smartphone is pretty cool also. So yeah, there are some very convenient improvements for us entitled folks.
However, if we don’t stop and take inventory of what kind of impact this is having on us and our society, we may find ourselves in a dark hole that we can’t get out of. As I take a look around me, including my own life, there is abundant evidence that feeling entitled can cause us to become angry, dependent, resentful, and to lose heart.
Photo by Elizabeth Tsung on Unsplash
When we think that we are entitled to having what we want, when we want it, we set ourselves up for disappointment. To give some perspective read these verses from James 4 in the Passion translation.
“Listen, those of you who are boasting, “Today or tomorrow we’ll go to another city and spend some time and go into business and make heaps of profit!” But you don’t have a clue what tomorrow may bring. For your fleeting life is but a warm breath of air that is visible in the cold only for a moment and then vanishes! Instead you should say, “Our tomorrows are in the Lord’s hands and if he is willing we will live life to its fullest and do this or that.”
“Our lives are in the Lord’s hands and if He is willing we will live our lives to the fullest and do this or that.” Wow, stack that up against our false belief that we are entitled to what we want, when we want it. It is not a stretch to say that so much of our disappointment and frustration with life is because we have the expectation that we should get the things we want, or that we think will make us happy, and the reality is that we are not in control…nor is Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri for that matter.
Photo by Austin Ban on Unsplash
I honestly think that greatest sin that Christians regularly commit today is the sin of unbelief. There is an epidemic of doubt in the church today. The Unholy Trinity (the flesh, the world, and the Devil) has subtly, over time, created a deep lack of trust that Abba, our father, wants what is best for us, or is capable of providing all that we need. So like everyone in the world around us, we run around frantically trying to provide for ourselves…trying to make sure we keep up and not fall behind. The reality is that we as followers of Jesus, cannot have it both ways. We cannot receive all of the blessings that we are promised in the Scriptures, if we don’t understand that our lives are fleeting.
So the next time you or I feel entitled to something, rather than asking Siri, let’s ask Jesus.
Jesus, what kind of life do you want me to live today?